24 Jan 2015

Large crowds converge on Ratana

1:16 pm on 24 January 2015

Hundreds of people have converged on Ratana Pa to celebrate the anniversary of the birth date of the prophet Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.

The annual Ratana celebrations.

The annual Ratana celebrations. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Brass bands from throughout New Zealand welcomed visitors onto the marae near Whanganui as part of a moving powhiri.

The grandson of one of Ratana Pa's priests, Ahi Walker, who was helping manage the crowds, said today was the first time he had visited the Pa after a 24 year absence and it was an emotional homecoming.

The day was also a chance for tangata whenua to visit stalls that provided information on topics such as health issues and career advice.

Yesterday, politicians were welcomed on to the Pa for the three-day annual event.

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